Mia Webb is a trainee Maths teacher at Bishop Justus School, in Bromley. Mia graduated with a first class BA honours degree in dance, before she decided to take the unconventional step into teaching maths. Mia talks to us about why she is so passionate about teaching and the routes open to those looking to get into the profession.
Mia taught dance from the age of 15, as she explains: “I have always loved teaching and inspiring children and seeing that moment when something clicks. My teachers taught me my passion for dance and maths, which has drawn me to teaching.” Mia’s love for maths and knowing how some young people struggle to engage with the subject prompted her to consider teaching maths: “I thoroughly enjoyed Maths A Levels and wanted others to love it as well.”
Whilst Mia’s degree was in dance, a teacher training role as a maths teacher. She was accepted onto a teacher training course on the condition she also completed a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course in maths. The support she received through her SKE proved invaluable, helping her to increase her subject knowledge and build up the extra confidence to teach maths.
“The main thing I got out of the course was looking at a topic and knowing the difference between subject knowledge and subject knowledge for teaching. The SKE course taught me how to present ideas to get students to construct their own findings and to frame ideas and break down concepts.” She says: “If you’re given the opportunity to complete an SKE course, you should definitely take it. The course gives you a vantage point and it provokes you to start thinking like a teacher when you refer to the syllabus.”
As a trainee teacher, Mia already has her own stand out moments:
“When I first started teaching I had a difficult middle to low-ability year ten class who strongly disliked maths. I made their lessons as inspiring as possible and constantly told them ‘you can do it’. One day one of the stronger characters in the class turned up to my lesson and was the star pupil. She was fully engaged and said thank you as she left the lesson. Ultimately when students thank me after a lesson and smile as they leave because they have accomplished something. That is the best bit.”
Mia spent six months as a teaching assistant before she became a trainee teacher and for many having real classroom experience is the decisive element in pursuing a career in teaching. Spending time in a classroom is also the ideal way to strengthen your application for teacher training. School experience gives you the chance to watch lessons and see for yourself what it’s really like to be a teacher – allowing you to draw on your own examples in your application and interview.
The school experience programme (SEP) is run by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and offers places to those wishing to commence initial teacher training (ITT).
Mia plans to achieve her newly qualified teacher (NQT) this year and has these words of advice for those thinking about a career in teaching: “It is a tough but rewarding career. You have to be patient and at times it is hard and can take over your life, but ultimately it is because teachers care, that we dedicate so much of our time to it. Teaching is the best career in the world, our students are the next generation of scientists, MP’s and celebrities, and seeing them grow up to become successful is incredible.”
SKE at a glance...
• SKE programmes are available to candidates who may not have a degree in the subject that they want to teach, but who have some subject knowledge – such as a closely related degree, relevant A level or professional experience
• SKE programmes can be completed before your teacher training course, or run in parallel
• An SKE course can last from 8 to 36 weeks depending on your needs.
• Courses can be offered full or part-time, and can be studied online and/or face-to-face
• You won’t have to pay for a SKE course
• You may be able to access a SKE bursary of up to £7,200
• If you think a SKE course would benefit you, speak to the training providers you’re interested in before you submit your application, to see what support they can provide you and the relevant bursaries available
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